Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer of California and John Kerry of Massachusetts have unveiled a climate change bill which promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create new jobs.
It proposes to cut emissions by 20 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, which is more stringent than the 17 percent proposed in the bill that narrowly passed the House in June.
As such, it has prompted top Republicans to denounce it as a "terrible idea," with House Minority leader John Boehner of Ohio saying that "middle-class families and small businesses struggling to make ends meet shouldn’t be punished with costly legislation that will increase electricity bills, raise gasoline prices and ship more American jobs overseas."
The proposal, labeled the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, also includes provisions to create both a floor and a ceiling for emission-allowance costs to spur investment in cleaner technologies and limit the potential energy prices growth under the carbon cap.
It furthermore contains subsidies for the development of nuclear, natural gas and "clean" coal power.
The event marked the start of what is expected to be a tough battle in the Senate this fall over climate legislation leading into the global climate summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December.